Auburn Softball Starts 6–0 on Jane B. Moore Field
Kaylee Carlson allowed one run on four hits and struck out two in four innings of work for the Tigers 10-1 win over Mercer. (photo: Auburn media file)
It was a very busy four days for the Auburn Tigers softball team. Less than a week after visiting Puerto Vallerta, Mexico, the Tigers opened up Jane B. Moore Field with six straight wins, five of them in the Plainsman Invitational.
Auburn hosted SIUE on Thursday night before Creighton, Evansville, and Mercer joined the fun on Saturday and Sunday. Despite the changing opponents and lineups for the Tigers, one thing remained the same, and it is the thing that really matters: wins.
Truly, none of these teams should have had the firepower to compete with the No. 2 ranked Tigers, but Auburn hasn’t been the hot-hitting team that fans have come to expect from coach Clint Myers’ teams. Thursday night’s game against SIUE went to extra innings with a 3-3 score, due to two Auburn errors in the outfield.
Thanks to the constantly changing Auburn lineup, fans were treated to another new player turned hero. Carmyn Greenwood laced a shot to center field, scoring speedy pinch runner Bree Fornis for the winning run. It was Greenwood’s first hit as a Tiger, and likely one she will always remember.
Auburn’s struggles at the plate ended with that at-bat as Auburn outscored its opponents 40–5 in the Plainsman Invitational. Only Evansville was able to get multiple runs on the Tigers. Auburn’s pitchers were white hot, especially Makayla Martin, who is sporting an ultra-low 0.71 ERA in spite of suffering Auburn’s only loss this year to a very good Washington club in Mexico. On her heels is Kaylee Carlson with an impressive 0.88 ERA while pitching more innings that Martin. Martin is edging Carlson out in strikeouts, however, 25 to 17. Freshman Ashlee Swindle is receiving some innings of work, even though she is experiencing growing pains. In only five innings she has allowed 3 runs, almost a fifth of the 14 runs the Tigers have allowed in the 68 innings of this young season.
Victoria Draper has been Auburn’s best option at the plate. The nine-hole hitter, truly a second lead-off batter ahead of Kasey Cooper, is hitting 0.500, has scored a team-high eight times, but hasn’t hit for extra bases and has just one RBI. Cooper has walked a team high 10 times, but she has made the most of her opportunities with nine RBIs, good for second on the team.
Kendall Veach has been the surprise star for the Tigers. The last-minute replacement to Tannon Snow, still out with an undisclosed illness, has hit four homers, one more than the rest of the team combined.
On the negative side, Whitney Jordan remains hitless in the 2017 season. Though she was a clutch performer in the Women’s College World Series, she has regressed drastically after being a bottom dweller in last year’s lineup while starting for the injured Haley Fagan.
The Tigers will host their second invitational this weekend after finishing the Plainsman Invitational undefeated and outscoring opponents 40–5 behind spectacular pitching.
North Dakota will play Auburn on Thursday night before seeing the Tigers again in the Tiger Invitational. Joining that fray are UMass-Lowell, Yale, and James Madison, which handed the Tigers their first loss of the season last year in Clearwater, Florida.
Auburn’s first and last games, UMass-Lowell and James Madison, will be the only games televised and will be on the WatchESPN app.
However, fans are encouraged to turn out. Buying a ticket to the first game of the day will include the opportunity to watch all the day’s games for that one ticket.